Melvin Mora was taking a few of his 13-year-old quintuplets to practice recently when he received a phone call from the Orioles.
He said he had no idea what it was about until Bill Stetka, the club's director of alumni, informed Mora that he had been elected into the Orioles Hall of Fame by members of the local media, club officials and the Orioles Advocates fan group.
"I didn't know what to say because I was just nervous. I was with my kids, and I'm like, 'Let's go, I have somebody on the line,'" Mora said. "I was in shock because they were announcing that. I was just excited. I was excited. I was like, 'OK, this is a dream come true.'"
Mora played 10 of his 13 big league seasons with the Orioles – all during the club's record losing streak. He came over in the club's infamous fire sale of veterans in July 2000, and was the only player the Orioles acquired during that period that panned out.
A super-utility player, he eventually was given a full-time chance at third base and ended up playing more games at the hot corner than any player in club history besides Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson. He logged more games at third than Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr., who was Mora's teammate in 2000 and 2001.
"It's not easy to replace a guy like Cal Ripken Jr., and to play the position that Brooks Robinson played so well for so many years. It's kind of hard," Mora said. "So without the people in Baltimore I don't think I could do it. … The fans, they helped me in my career and they supported me through all the years in Baltimore."
Mora will be inducted into the club's Hall – along with veterans' committee inductees Gary Roenicke and John Lowenstein -- at a noon luncheon on Friday, Aug. 14 and on-field ceremony later that night.
He'll be joining a Hall of Fame that includes several former teammates such as Ripken, Brady Anderson, B.J. Surhoff and Mike Mussina.
"One of the first guys I met [after the trade] was Ripken Jr. I was like, 'I'm going to play with that guy in Baltimore?'" Mora said. "And there were other guys like B.J. Surhoff, Brady Anderson, those guys were Orioles and those guys I had been watching for a long time in the Orioles uniform. To be part of the Hall of Fame with Cal and all those guys … is amazing."
At first, Mora was known more for leading the league in babies; his wife, Gisel, gave birth to quintuplets in July 2001. But in 2003, Mora made the first of two All-Star teams. In 2004, Mora set a club record that still stands with a .340 average.
"Terry Crowley, my hitting coach, he told me in spring training (2004), that he wrote in an e-mail that Melvin Mora could hit .340. And I was like, 'You are joking around," Mora said. "About halfway into the season, I was like, 'Do you really have that e-mail?' So I think that was a great season, but I give credit to Terry Crowley a lot. He believed in what I could do with my bat and so 2004 was one of my best years."
Mora, who finished his career in 2011 with the Arizona Diamondbacks, hit .280 with a .355 on-base percentage for the Orioles and is among the top 10 in club history in doubles, RBIs, home runs and total bases. He still lives in Harford County with his family, and watched proudly as this version of the Orioles reached the playoffs twice in the past three years.
"The one thing that I feel bad [about] is that I'm not part of this Oriole [team] right now," he said. "When I was there I was always dreaming of [winning]. To see the Orioles players today jumping back and forth to the field and they know they're playing for something, that is something that's neat."